5 Things You Don’t Need To Do Before a Job Interview, Contrary to Popular Advice

By Brittney Morgan

When you’re gearing up for a job interview, you’ll probably find a million resources telling you how to prepare, what to do and what not to do. But often those rules can be outdated, or sometimes, they don’t exactly fit the industry you’re looking to work in. To have the best interview possible, avoid these 5 pieces of cliched interview advice. You may be under the impression that you have to do them, or you might just have the instinct to, but they could hurt your chances more than help you.

Don’t Arrive Super Early

When you’re getting ready to leave for a job interview—and especially when you’re feeling extra nervous—your instincts might tell you to arrive as early as possible, but showing up to your interview too early can actually leave a bad impression and can make your interviewer feel rushed. If you’re worried about hitting traffic or being late because of unforeseen circumstances, you should still leave early to get to your interview, but rather than show up 30 minutes early and sit in the reception lobby, head to a cafe close by and wait there—then walk over when you hit the 15 minute mark.

Don’t Rehearse All Your Responses

By all means, yes, you should ask yourself practice questions and run through possible responses in your head—doing so will help you work out the points you want to come across and make you think about the things you want to touch on during the interview. But if you find yourself doing run-throughs of the same questions and responses over and over again like you’re trying to memorize what you want to say, you’re doing it wrong. Practice; don’t rehearse. Your interview should feel like a conversation, and if you’re running lines, you won’t come across as yourself.

Don’t Check Your Phone

The urge to check emails or Twitter or clear your other phone notifications while you wait to go into an interview is real, but it’s one you should definitely hold off on. Not because it’s unprofessional (although you shouldn’t be checking your phone if you’re waiting in the office for your interview to begin, because that can look unprofessional) but because it could impair your performance during the interview. It’s possible that you’ll read something bad or otherwise distracting, and if your brain is focused on whatever distracting thing you just read, you won’t be able to give it your all during your chat.

Don’t Pre-Write a Thank You Note

If you’re sending handwritten thank you note or email to your interviewers (and while it sounds outdated, you definitely should be because it takes minimal effort and shows that you’re willing to go above and beyond), it may seem like a good idea to write it before the interview so you can send it out immediately afterwards, but it’s better to wait. A thank you note won’t do you any good if it’s generic—make sure you write it after the interview so you can include a personal touch (like if you and your interviewer bonded over something, or if you weren’t confident in an answer you gave and want to expand a little). If you’re worried about getting it out on time, bring the supplies you need and head to a nearby cafe to write it immediately after, then drop it in the mail on your way home.

Don’t Just Put On a Suit

Job interview = wearing a suit, right? Not always. For some jobs, your go-to interview look should absolutely be a simple suit with clean lines and minimal accessories that could distract from what you’re saying—if that’s what the job you’re interviewing for is like, go for it and wear the suit. But some industries and some employers want to see your personality, so it’s a good idea to do some research into the company (that’s a good idea anyway!) and see if you can figure out what types of things current employees actually wear to the office. Once you know, take that structure and add a little more interview formality to it, since you still want to dress to impress—you just don’t want to look like you don’t fit the company culture, either.


This piece was originally published by Apartment Therapy. 

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